Month: September 2019

POSE, Queer Eye, and Tunnel Vision

Strike up a conversation with any gay person about the reboot of the TV series Queer Eye, and chances are they’ll have seen at least an episode or two. But strike up a conversation with a cis gay man or woman about the new TV series POSE, and there’s a good chance they won’t have heard of it.

At least this has been my experience. Which brings me to my question: Why aren’t more gay folks talking about POSE? Not only is the show a moving depiction of pivotal moments in queer history—the AIDS crisis, the ballroom scene in 1980s NYC—the series itself has made history as the largest ever transgender cast for a scripted show. Given the lack of representation of “our kind” (to steal a phrase that the characters in POSE often use to refer to themselves and to the queer community at large) in mainstream media, you’d think the whole LGBTQ community would be raving about it. 

The community’s relative silence is especially perplexing when you consider that the show’s subject matter—ball culture—is not only relevant to our collective obsession: drag culture (cishet readers out there: think RuPaul’s Drag Race), it also logically precedes drag culture as a condition for its very possibility. Were it not for the Elektras and Blancas of the 80s ball scene—the trans women of color showing up for each other and for the queer community at large—there would be no RuPaul. You’d think RuPaul fans would be gushing over POSE. But they aren’t. Why aren’t they?

There are a lot of reasons we could give for why POSE has not captured our attention the way the new Queer Eye has. One could argue it’s because trans people make up a smaller percentage of the population than gay people, or because trans people have only just begun to enter the mainstream very recently, or because the new Queer Eye, unlike POSE, is a reboot of the original show, and so it already had recognition and a following. While all of these reasons make sense, I would argue that they trace back to a bigger, more fundamental reason: gay tunnel vision. 

For the purposes of this blog post, allow me to define tunnel vision as: the very common, very human tendency to get so wrapped up in our own world, our own suffering, our own perspective, that we forget that there are other perspectives out there: perspectives both very much like our own while at the same time very different.

None of us are immune to this condition, and most of us don’t choose it. It’s the kind of thing that sneaks up on you. You don’t realize it’s happening, so chances are you don’t notice the ways in which it’s causing harm to you and the people around you.

In the cis gay and lesbian community, tunnel vision looks like trans erasure (see: curiosity about queer history only up to a point: the point at which queer history is made by trans people.) Cis gay people aren’t interested in trans people, or a show about trans people, because they don’t share the same issues or the same experience. 

But it’s not just the gays. The trans community also struggles with tunnel vision, as reflected in the way our own community members misgender, ignore, and/or discredit the identities and experiences of nonbinary people (people who identify as neither or both male and/or female). 

And for all of us—gay, straight, trans, cis, or otherwise—tunnel vision can show up as racism or color blindness (refusal to see the social categories of race that benefit some of us while harming others), bias or blindness to people with disabilities, or poor people, or fat people, etc. 

Is it too bold to suggest that cis gay tunnel vision (see: disinterest in trans history and trans experience) is the reason POSE hasn’t gained more traction in the community? All I can do is raise the question, and hope that the reader will reflect and answer honestly.

Queer: I love the word now and use it all the time

What does the word queer mean to you? How do you identify?

It’s a huge question, but one I think is worth discussing. It’s a word that has been used to hurt me, smear me, physically assault me; I have had a painful past with the word. When I first was growing into myself, my sexuality, and learning about what that meant for myself — I was very apprehensive about it. I understood the argument about reclaiming your power and owning the word yourself, but the emotion was still a little too raw there. So, it’s been a process of reclaiming that word and bringing it into myself. I love the word now and use it all the time.

Queer means anyone not cisgender or straight. It encompasses all expressions of the rainbow family. But it also means, for me — a state of being and knowing that you can, and are helping the world in your most beautiful and unique *not straight* self. It means knowing and positioning yourself to assist in centering queer people of color voices, non-cisgender voices, and other marginalized communities. As for me, I am a queer gay dude and a fun loving, easy going leatherman and Sister of Perpetual Indulgence, obsessed with figure skating.

My pronouns are he/him/his.

Where are you originally from and explain how was it growing up/living in Kentucky?

I grew up in Loretto, Kentucky, in Marion County. It’s directly in the center of the state. I grew up in a very Catholic family, and in a very Catholic part of the state. In that aspect, it was incredibly isolating. Literally, my hometown has a population of 500 people, and even then, my parents still don’t live in the city limits. I’m fairly close to everyone in my family, but though they aren’t necessarily politically conservative, they were still fairly socially conservative in what they talked about and discussed, if that makes sense. I was the weirdo, the shy kid who everyone else knew was gay before they did — which was the worst thing ever. I was closeted until I moved to Louisville for college, and began to really form and discover my true identity (in every sense of the word) then.

I took for granted Kentucky’s natural beauty when I lived at home. It truly is a special place and my breath always catches on the drive home when I pass Rohan’s Knob in Nelson County. I love advocating for Appalachian justice, and our Kentucky environment. I’ve had so many people tell me “Jody, you should move somewhere else, I promise, it’s so much better!” but for some reason, I’m still here. I want to be part of the change that helps Kentucky’s image across the nation and the world.

We live in a special, beautiful, wonderful place full of folks that at their core are deeply compassionate and giving people, and I want to bring that out in my activism. I will not give up on this state or this country, and that means helping remove from office politicians that have misguided, lied to, and made false promises to folks for decades. And, I want to be here when Mitch McConnell finally leaves office.

What would you say to any person struggling to come into their own identity?

You don’t have to have everything figured out all at once. Our identities change, grow, and evolve over time, as we age, grow, learn, and change. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, of yourself, and others. Find your passion, or something you’re deeply interested in, and build community around that. There are some pretty good chances people you find there probably have dealt with similar feelings. Have compassion for yourself, and realize you have so many folks behind you. And be open minded! Don’t limit yourself. You’ll surprise yourself.

How does your own identity run how you carry yourself? Or does it?

It informs so much of my thinking, what I do, and how I do it. Being queer, being gay has taught me so many life lessons. It’s taught me to be kind, to be informed, to think critically, and to know every inch of myself. My likes, dislikes, and things I can’t fucking stand. It’s forced me to take a stand politically, to recognize systems of oppression in our society, and how I can contribute in taking those down. It’s urged me to become a Sister of Perpetual Indulgence, to spread joy and expiate guilt for my community. It’s informed my sense of humor, and appreciation for queer culture, artists, musicians and music, humor, subcultures, and the like. We are a really a creative, hilarious bunch of folks, and I love that. I love basking in the creative energy and endurance of my community. My identity as a leatherman has helped me embrace my body, and all its flaws, quirks, and “what the fucks.”

I did not have good body image until I became immersed in leather culture, and now I can finally say I feel pretty sexy and special. I am myself.

Do you feel excluded from the “mainstream” queer community? Why or why not?

I don’t. I’m a cisgender gay man, and it’s up to me to navigate and move our community to a better, more inclusive, accepting, and safer space for *all* people. There are many other more vulnerable populations and communities within the rainbow.

Where do you feel “at your best” (safe, happy, fabulous, comfortable, etc)?

Being with family, friends, and chosen family equals my happy place. I love getting all dressed up in my formal leathers, going to the bar, and grabbing a drink with my leather family here in Louisville. I love being around my Sister family; they inspire me to continue on when sometimes I feel like I can’t be the activist I am or used to be. We have so many talented people in that organization, it really fills me with joy. I also love a good day at the coffee shop, snuggled up with a good book and my headphones. Who influenced the life you live now?Many, many people. My bio family; my mother and father are the hardest working people I know, and they worked their asses off to give my sister and I the best life possible. My mother is one of the most sensitive, caring, empathetic, and encouraging people I know.

When I feel like getting angry, or reacting with anger, I think of my mom, and how she would handle the situation. My dad expects me to work hard, but also helps me recognize even hard work has its limitations, and to never be too hard on yourself. He also has a bizarre sense of humor that I’m starting to understand as I get older. I alway saw him as rather serious growing up, but he’s really not.

Much like me, I think. People think I’m so serious, until they finally get to know me. I’m anything but! I’m also encouraged and blessed to have so many wonderful friends and chosen family members scattered around the world. Seeing them live their lives authentically really makes me happy. Becoming active in the BDSM, leather, and kink community — and also Sister rabbit hole, has introduced me to so many lovely people. I’m continually motivated to be my own authentic self in every interaction I have with folks I’m a lucky guy. If I can add my own slice of Kentucky to the mix, life’s good.

There is no one way to be queer: Kentucky Lesbian couple tells all

McKenzie and Colby

What does the word queer mean to you?

M: I always thought of it as existing outside the heteronormative universe—with rules about the things you’re “supposed” to do. It’s marching to your own drum and being different while not having to worry about what society says you have to do at a certain time or a certain age. C: To me, queer has become a catch-all term that can be used to describe an array of gender and sexual identities. It is a term that can be morphed and molded to fit however someone needs. I often use it when I’m trying to describe a group to be inclusive of all the variation that exists within our LGBTQIA+ community. How do you identify? Why? Or why don’t you identify as anything at all? M: Lesbian. (Let the record show that upon answering this question, McKenzie broke out into an adorable chuckle.) A soft butch. I heard the term GNC recently and was excited because in my mind I thought oh it’s a new way to say sporty fitness gay since you know that store but I found out it meant gender non-conforming which in a way works too because I don’t exactly fit into the standard feminine mold.C: I’m queer, and I’m gay. I like “hard femme” to describe the way I present. I’m tattooed and pierced, my hair is longer but shaved up the back, I only wear black though I secretly enjoy a nice floral, and I’m not afraid to open my mouth to tell you the brutally honest truth especially if your political opinions are trash. Where are you originally from and explain how was it growing up/living in Kentucky? M: Campbellsville, KY. I grew up in a very Southern Baptist family. My dad was/is a deacon at our church that my family has been attending for decades. I was in church 3x a week, youth group, and even went on mission trips around the state rehabbing homes. I was always the rough and tumble tomboy that just liked playing outside, participating in sports, I got along better with boys than girls because I didn’t want to just sit around playing dolls. Nothing seemed amiss until early high school when the usual things happen. All the girls who I was friends with would be like “he’s cute”, started going on dates and I was always like “eww, boys are gross” and had no idea why. I started to figure things out mid-high school but knew because of where I lived, I couldn’t tell anyone. There were a lot of years of listening to angry music and taking lots of art classes, and wearing what I thought was emo clothes to deal with the keeping it all in—trying to rationalize being gay but at the same listening to a pastor who said I would very much go to hell. I was determined to get out of the city and live my true self in a city far away from prying eyes. I even went to a college that I knew no one from my high school would attend. C: I grew up at the dead-end of a dirt road in Hampton, Connecticut. My graduating high school class had 50 students, and a third of them had gone to school with me since we were in kindergarten. That part of Connecticut was, and still is very conservative. In elementary school, I wore my work boots with either overalls or dresses my mom sewed from fabric we picked out together (bugs, ants, the solar system, school supplies—you name it, she was cool with it). I was often the only girl invited to an all boy birthday party, and I played on every sports team. By the time high school came around, I felt different than the other girls in my class, but I did not have the language to explain why. I liked to wear make-up, I wore dresses to semi-formal dances and proms, and I even had a boyfriend all four years (first and last time that happened). Thinking back to then, we were really just best friends who were really into being emo together. After graduating high school, I went to Smith, which is a womens’ college in Northampton, Massachusetts. It took all of about 20 seconds for me to realize why I had felt so different all those years—I was very, very queer. By the time I moved to Louisville, Kentucky five years ago, I was very confident in my identity as a queer human. Admittedly, I was scared I would not be able to find anyone to date based on my assumptions of a red state as far south as I have ever lived, but meeting McKenzie was the most perfect surprise of my life. What would you say to any person struggling to come into their own identity? M: Do a lot of reading and search out resources. I spent a lot time on the computer in our upstairs bonus room late at night reading and researching, then carefully curating the search history so my parents wouldn’t figure out what I was doing. I also latched on to, as corny as it sounds, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, it was the first tv show I watched with a queer character that was accessible to me. I remember reading the old TV guide magazines my mom would buy and I saw an article about all the “gasp” LGBT people on TV! I just remembered seeing the characters and knew I had to watch it! I got really into the online communities surrounding that show almost 15-20 years ago that really expanded my understanding of what being LGBT meant. There were no limits to message boards filled with questioning kids like me with people from all ages offering all kinds of advice. That was how I coped living in a community with no representation. Once I got to college, I finally could be around other queer people who were open and confident with who they were. You have to find your own tribe who you can trust, who will support you, sometimes that might be a digital tribe until you find your own space. C: There is no one way to be queer. The way you choose to be yourself is beautiful and perfect in every way. You are enough, exactly as you are right now. How does your own identity run how you carry yourself? Or does it? M: My identity has always been a part of how I carry myself. I am a butch woman who lifts weights. I have never been dainty. I don’t walk demurely, or dress how women are “supposed” to dress. I am more comfortable shopping in the little boy’s section (I’m short) than the womens. Many people tell me I walk with swagger but that is the furthest from the truth if you knew me, but I’ve been told that since high school. It’s just who I am! C: I take up a lot of space and I’m proud of that. When men walk toward me on the sidewalk, I never move to the side and sometimes that means they walk right into me. As a queer person, I know I do not fit the mold of how society would like me to act, and I find that freeing more than anything else. I’m not afraid of calling out microaggression when I see or hear something. I will be loud and I will get in your face if you choose not to hear me. People in Kentucky seem to mistake this passion of mine for aggression, but I think it’s kind of a common New Englander thing. Don’t get me wrong, I like to think I also know when to listen—but I won’t stand for anyone getting stepped on. Now that I am in medical school training to be a primary care provider for LGBTQIA+ people, I am way more open about my identity than I ever have been before. I am proud to be someone who is out and can help my colleagues learn to be more inclusive. What issues do you see in the queer community? C: I think there are a lot of ways that the queer community straight-up fails at intersectionality. Queer people are living at the intersections of multiple oppressions all at once and until each one of us is free we will not be truly liberated. People are comfortable wearing rainbows and going to (partying at) Pride, but not marching for Black Lives Matter, rallying for immigrants and refugees, or speaking out for any other marginalized groups under the queer umbrella. M: I echo a lot of what Colby says in her statement about not standing up for other marginalized parts of our community, but I also think to the overall health problems in our community. I like to exist in queer safe spaces but often times those spaces are surrounded in clouds of varying types of smoke, especially patio areas on nice nights. This may also intersect with our state problems as well. This states populace smokes way too much. Being into fitness I wish our community would take better care of ourselves. It’s hard to fight the white supremacy and the patriarchy when you have COPD. What do you think would solve those issues? C: As a white person I know I have directly benefited from centuries of enforced white supremacy. Since I have recognized that, I can use the resources I do have to unrig the system. There is a lot that I do not know, and a lot that I know I will never understand, but I am willing to put in the work to learn on my own time and read up on how I can use the skills I do have to help my community. I think we can move forward together if each of us gave what we are able to. M: I know many of the health issues surrounding the community are also connected with being marginalized by family. They are coping mechanisms for pain. I hope that over time we recognize these and steer away from unhealthy vices. As a member of the Crossfit community that sometimes gets a bad reputation as a bunch hypermasculine meat heads, I do see many gyms reaching out to the LGBT+ community. I want to see women pick up the weights and get strong, for the community to get better at finding spaces to congregate that don’t involve smoking and excessive drinking. As I’ve gotten older, I am turned off by going to bars where the goal is just get blacked out. I’d rather get sweaty lifting!

Climate change is important topic for this Queer Kentuckian

Casey

What do you identify as? Why? Or why don’t you identify as anything?
I am a non-binary lesbian because I personally do not subscribe to a male or female identity but sexually identify as lesbian.

What does the word Queer mean to you?
It means taking a weapon (a harmful word) from my oppressor and making it my own as to ensure they can no longer harm me.

Where are you from and explain what it was like growing up/living in Kentucky?
I was raised in Wilmore and currently live in Lancaster. Growing up and living in Kentucky has been challenging (and blood at times) but it has helped me build character. I started working on natural gas lines in Hazard at age 13 and became a volunteer EMT at age 19. Now, I currently operate the first and only residential and commercial curbside compost service. As a queer person who used to work in the fossil fuel industry, my identity as an environmentalist is parallel to my identity as an Appalachian.

What would you say to anyone struggling to come into their own identity?
Self care and safety is important. You might not ALWAYS feel prideful of who you are and your sexuality but remember that pride is fluid and ever-changing, but living out your true self is not always so.

How does your own identity run how you carry yourself? Or does it?
I am seen as confident and blunt. My ability to be obviously queer in unfriendly spaces has helped me socially and politically.

What issues do you see in the queer community?
Climate change, fascism, and community connection.

What do you think would solve those issues?
Following your own interests and heart, whether it be focusing in climate change, veteran wellfare, racial justice, etc. It is important to do what fills your soul with purpose and joy.

Do you feel excluded from the “mainstream” queer community? Why or why not?
Absolutely because I am not particularly interest in club culture, pop culture, or even hipster culture. I enjoy being with my compost piles and other folks who enjoy talking about climate change.

Where do you feel “at your best” (safe, happy, fabulous, comfortable, etc)
I feel at my best in the garden or in front of a classroom or group of politicians.

Who influenced the life you live now?
My mother, who helped gently push me out of the closet. She has always been my biggest advocate and has always pushed me to live a life of integrity and grace.

Study up and Vote y’all: Queer Kentucky Nov. Election Picks

by Ben Giehart

As I’m sure most Kentuckians are well aware, Kentucky is a red state. There are exceptions of course. As a whole, big cities like Louisville and Lexington are decently progressive – as one might expect. There are pockets of other cities and towns littered throughout the state that harbor modern civil rights laws that protect LGBTQ+ citizens from discrimination, but that covers only about 25 percent of the commonwealth. Consequently, it’s easy to lose hope that a vote in Kentucky ever really counts towards progress.

On a national scale, there is some truth to that – at least the way the electoral college is currently set up. As is most often the case however, change starts small and it starts within. 

Kentucky’s 2019 Election Day is Tuesday, November 5. If you have no clue who to vote for or would like a refresher on who to consider for governor and other state executives, QueerKentucky has got you covered. There are several big races coming down the pike whose results could mean the beginning of serious change for Kentucky.

Governor

Andy Beshear is Kentucky’s current attorney general and won the 2019 Democratic primary. He is running with lieutenant gubernatorial nominee, Assistant High School Principal Jacqueline Coleman. This race marks the most likely opportunity for Kentuckians to end Republican trifecta control (when one party controls the governor’s office and holds majorities in both chambers of the legislature) in the state.

His platform focuses on making public education a priority for the state, supporting term limits on all elected officials and improving state transparency as well as increasing wages for workers.

Beshear is running against current Governor Matt Bevin, who has been a consistent news presence during his tenure. It should be stressed again, that this race is a big opportunity for Kentucky and its citizens.

To learn more about Beshear and his campaign, please visit https://andybeshear.com/.

Attorney General

With current Attorney General Andy Beshear running for Governor, this affords Republicans the opportunity to vote in one of their own in this position, so it is important that Democratic turnout be high for this race as well.

Greg Stumbo is the Democratic nominee and is a former member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, representing District 95 from 1981 to 2005 and from 2009 to 2017. It is also worth noting that he has served as Kentucky attorney general previously from 2005 to 2007. He is an extremely experienced candidate who could bring some stability to state government.

His platform focuses on his legal experience (he has practiced law for over 40 years and written laws as a state legislator), his opposition to drug companies that he says are responsible for bringing opioids into Kentucky and improving public access to the attorney general’s office.

To learn more about Stumbo and his campaign, please visit https://www.stumboforag.com/.

Secretary of State

Heather French Henry is the Democratic candidate for Kentucky secretary of state. She is perhaps the most popular candidate in this year’s Democratic field and, therefore, the most likely to win. As always, voter turnout is essential to secure this.

Henry is a former Miss American, but more importantly, she has served both Governor Beshear and Governor Bevin as the commissioner and deputy commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs. In that role, she has served over 300,000 veterans in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, making her a candidate with a fair amount of experience and possible partisan support.

Her platform focuses on voter security and accessibility, civics education and historic document preservation.

To learn more about Henry and her campaign, please visit https://www.supportheatherfrenchhenry.com/.

Agriculture Commissioner

Robert Conway is the Democratic nominee for agriculture commissioner. He has extensive experience as the current district supervisor of the Scott County Soil and Water Conservation Board along with membership to several agricultural boards throughout the state. He is an eighth generation family farmer in Kentucky with farms in Scott and Harrison County.

His priorities as commissioner will be investing in schools and educators to develop a new generation of farmers, and he is also a strong supporter of legalizing cannabis to replace tobacco as a state cash crop. He believes that this will bring revenue and jobs to the state.

To learn more about Conway and his campaign, please visit https://www.conwayforky19.com/.

Auditor

Sheri Donahue is the Democratic nominee for state auditor, and while her resume is not overtly political, it is perhaps the most impressive of all the candidates.

Donahue holds a BS in industrial engineers from Purdue University. She spent 20 years working for the U. S. Navy and served as program manager in security and intelligence. She has assisted on projects for the Navy, Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security. She also served as president and executive director for the Cyber Conflict Studies Association where she worked with government, private corporations and academia to study cyber threats.

She brings a lot of intelligence to the playing field and as auditor, promises to restore community engagement, charitable involvement and faith in government for the people of Kentucky.

To learn more about Donahue and her campaign, please visit https://donahueforky.com/.

State Treasurer

Michael Bowman is the Democratic candidate for state treasurer. He has long been active in volunteer work for local politics and ran for Jefferson County Clerk in 2018. He has served as a general manager for Yum! Brands, regional coordinator for the Southwest members of Louisville Metro Council and in 2012, was appointed as chief legislative assistant to District 14 Councilwoman Cindi Fowler.

He is currently a bank officer and branch manager for one of the largest banks in the country and is poised to jump on the political stage. 

If elected, his three priorities are accountability by providing checks and balances for the executive branch, protecting state investments ethically and investing in new technologies and finding efficiencies in how the state treasurer’s office operates.

Notably, Bowman is the only candidate listed here who is openly gay.

To learn more about Bowman and his campaign, please visit https://www.bowmanforkentucky.com/.

Each of these candidates brings something unique and valuable to the table. They each require your support in the general election. Vote for yourself and vote for Kentucky. To register to vote, please visit www.GoVoteKY.com. The deadline is October 7, 2019. 

Knox County trans woman stays true to self despite opposition

Lu Fields, Barbourville

What do you identify as? Why? Or why don’t you identify as anything?

I am a Proud Transgendered Woman from the small city called Barbourville in the County of Knox.

What does the word Queer mean to you?

Queer has many meanings to me as a Trans Woman who proudly fights for all LGBT and minorities.

I’ve heard the word Queer in the derogatory form my entire life.

I have been called the word Queer many times as well in a hurtful way! I believe however the word is best defined by me personally as happy and openly proud!

Where are you from and explain what it was like growing up/living in Kentucky?

I grew up in Barbourville, Kentucky. My entire life I’ve fought for equality and to simply be treated as a human being. My first memory of hate is scorched in to my memory like an iron burning flesh.

I was in the fourth grade when a bully relentlessly attacked me. My father told me I had to fight back or he would whip me when I got home.

The boy started poking and hitting me first thing the next morning so I fought back “after he stabbed a pencil threw my hand” which I bare the scares of still to this day! Instead of the teacher reprimanding the student who had hit me everyday the teacher grabs my arm dragging me into the hallway! She beat me with a paddle so severely it fractured my tailbone & legs!

As I cried in pain she told me I’d learn to act like a lil boy or get beat every day!

What would you say to anyone struggling to come into their own identity?

Dig deep inside yourself to find your loudest voice because you’ll need it! Surround yourself with only positive people to lift you when you are challenged or have fallen!

Stay Strong like a Willow Tree as my grandmother used to tell me! The Willow branch bends but does not break she’d say! To me that meant take time to listen to understand their perception. Take time to inform and educate but do not allow them to harm you with negativity until you break!

Bend like a branch in the wind but never let them break you!

How does your own identity run how you carry yourself? Or does it?

I carry myself with such Pride. I do so for many reasons. One of the most important reasons is there are people watching that are struggling and may see you as a light.

What issues do you see in the queer community?

I hate that there is division in the Queer Community over silly things! We should all love and support each other! I also think there should be more outreach for the struggling youth! Finally, we should have an education program in place for disease prevention and drug abuse!

What do you think would solve those issues?

Love is the only answer for bringing us together to stand against such hate in these hostile times in our country! By loving each other we can stand stronger & former against these assaults!The more united we are the fewer the numbers would be caught in situations that allow abuse!These situations are not limited to verbal & physical abuSe either.

We could help solve a lot of this recruitment by traffickers who exploit our abused LGBT members! Our community feels so alone & isolated that most simply want to be loved!

Do you feel excluded from the “mainstream” queer community? Why or why not?

I don’t feel excluded but it’s because I travel so frequently to other areas in the United States making new friends. These friends make my alliances stronger not only for me but everyone in my LGBT community!

Where do you feel “at your best” (safe, happy, fabulous, comfortable, etc)

I made a promise to myself a very long time ago to live my best life. I have never lived in true fear until this administration took office!

Now I’m constantly waiting for new laws stripping my rights daily! Even though I am fearful of the growing hate I live my best life!

We must be bigger! We must be better and we must rise!

Who influenced the life you live now?

My biggest influence was probably my Grandmother. My grandma loved me endlessly and always told me to be proud of myself! She always loved me just as I was! I will be forever thankful for feeling loved enough to simply be me!

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